Designing for Long Term Impact: Sustainable Offices
As the phenomena of globalization increases by the second, organizations are constantly trying to upgrade the way they work and improve their office spaces. That being said, with environmental concerns on their way up, there has been a gradual shift towards designing real estate that has a long-term impact. In short, sustainable offices.
The Need to Design Sustainable Spaces
In simple terms, a sustainable office refers to a development that adheres to environmentally responsible and resource-efficient designs. These developments are designed in a way to be energy efficient by incorporating environmentally-friendly materials and practices.
This is aimed at minimising an organization's carbon footprint and contribute towards reducing pollution in the long run.
So, Why the Sudden Shift?
According to research, buildings account for 18 % of total CO2 emissions. Plus, the cost of developing green buildings are high, in some cases, as much as 15 per cent than the conventional buildings.
So, why this sudden shift in focus towards developing sustainable offices?
A lot has to do with increasing awareness of the long-term environmental benefits associated with it.
Here is a quick snapshot:
Green Buildings Filter Harmful Ultraviolet Radiation: By design, sustainable office spaces propagate the use of natural light. Research studies mention that daylight “helps set your circadian rhythm” and that “sunlight is important for mood.” While there may be artificial lighting, it may not be adequate for employees to support healthy circadian rhythms.
Windows should be built with external shading that allows entry to useful daylight, free of harmful ultraviolet radiation. This can be achieved by opting for the right glazing material with the right technical specifications that ensures access to glare-free daylighting. This has found to favourably improve staff productivity.
Eco-Friendly Automatically Means Communing with Nature: A key quality that influences human behaviour and their efficiency are nature views. Green building designs offers the opportunity to develop such views when they are typically not a natural extension of the landscape.
Remember that there is an innate desire in every individual to connect with nature. Natural views are the obvious answer to satisfying that need. Eco buildings can create views of the water, green walls, and green roofs. For instance, the bio-wall at Brigade Opus not only gives tenants a slice of nature, but also enhances the temperature within the space and contributes towards noise reduction.
Sustainable Spaces Offers Better Air Quality: With unprecedented levels of rising air pollution, there is an immediate need for green spaces around us. With people spending so much time at their workplace, it makes absolute sense to divert attention to transforming these spaces first.
Three species of common plants is all that you need to stay healthy when indoors. By growing these plants in-house, non-green offices can convert into eco-friendly zones. Introducing high-performance air filtration systems will offer occupants superior indoor air quality.
Complaints such as eye irritation and headaches will reduce significantly ensuring better employee performance in the long run.
Lower operational costs combined with potential health benefits of the occupants and the overall affordability factor is making it a viable option for real estate developers to adopt green buildings’ practices faster.
The Market Shows Promise
Sustainable buildings are a popular concept in the west. However, in the last few years, Asia too has caught up. China and South Korea are leading the way, but India is not far behind either.
In the current market, green buildings in India stand at 5% only. As per the Smart Market Report by Dodge Data & Analytics World Green Building Trends 2016, sustainable offices and green buildings will grow at a steady pace of 20% in the country.
While we agree that sustainability today is more of a choice. But data shows that the domestic market, unquestionably, has a lot of potential.
What really drives this fact home is that the green building sector in India is estimated to double to 10 million sq. ft. by 2022 with a valuation of anywhere between USD 35 to USD 50 million.
Advantages of Taking the Green Road
The indoor environmental quality in green buildings is better in comparison to non-green spaces.
But, how can one be so sure?
Certified green buildings stand at a whopping 3.5 billion sq. ft. worldwide. Therefore, the process of procuring scientific evidence on the advantages of going green has become a necessity for researchers.
Data suggests that people spend almost 90% of their time indoors. In non-green spaces, the quality of internal air, light, noise and the presence of chemicals was seen to be starkly poor when compared to eco-friendly surroundings. Radiological, chemical, biological and other physical aspects of indoor environmental hazards were also taken into consideration to arrive at a conclusive verdict.
At this stage, it largely implies that human health in non-green environments may be adversely impacted on the basis of these key discoveries.
Our Role Towards Creating Sustainable Spaces
Buildings today consume a significant quantity of natural resources that leaves a long lasting ecological footprint. These environmental concerns are key to driving this sustainable design movement forward.
Application of sustainable principles in building design and construction can greatly lower these environmental impacts. Through energy efficient designs, usage of renewable energy CO2 emissions in green buildings is said to be fairly low.
Green architecture uses renewable materials which end up generating lesser waste. Going green also furthers the concept of ‘smart growth’. This is an umbrella term for urban planning that takes sustainability, human health and safety along economic expansion into account.
As a responsible real estate developer, we have continued to do our bit by developing a portfolio of green buildings across the country in the last couple of years. Brigade Tech Gardens, for instance, is a prime example of a paradigm shift from conventional office spaces.
By masterfully integrating landscape and architecture in a harmonious relationship, Brigade Tech Gardens has addressed the evolving needs of world-class technology companies who are looking for sustainable spaces that promote innovation, collaboration and also stimulate health and wellness.
As a responsible developer, the goal is to enrich the lives of those who spend time in their buildings through human-centric, sustainable designs and seamless operational best practices.
With findings pointing to the fact that there are direct benefits to health of the occupants of an environmentally-friendly building, going green makes absolute sense.
In fact, the visible benefits are not just for the health of the people living and working in them, but also greatly benefit the environment we thrive in.